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“can you draw the nose without the nostrils?”

Posted on March 31, 2010  Leave a Comment
Filed under Drawings


Tonight was my last drawing class for this term and once again my teacher decided to give me a hard time.

I have had two teachers this term. One that would pat us on the back congratulating us on our work: “you are doing fine”, then would disappear for the rest of the hour to probably smoke a whole pack of cigarettes or hang out at the school’s café while, I, would share the teaching of Andrew Loomis and Glen Vilppu.

The second teacher has been trained at a tough russian fine art school and would instead draw with us and try her hardest to teach us life drawing but there is one big problem, she is a very good artist but she completely forgot what it means to begin in life drawing. Very often she would come to our easel making completely useless comments. “The proportions are off, imagine you saw that person in a restaurant, wouldn’t you be scared? can you see why is wrong now?”. Of course not! If I could i would correct it! Man this drove me nuts. Luckily once in a while, the ramblings would be followed by some amazing tips….

This week, she noticed I was really struggling drawing the subtle changes of shadow of the nose and asked me: “can you draw the nose without the nostrils?”…. well of course not and why would I? When you have two big black marks right in the middle of the face, why wouldn’t use them as landmarks?

After nearly 20 minutes of rambling and argument she eventually drew a simplified representation of the nose using shaded planes…. man THAT was useful! I had seen similar drawings in the Loomis books but completely forgot about it. If you can break down the face and probably the body in term of planes, things are so much simpler and you might not even need a model anymore.

Here we go, as Glen Vilppu would say, I have now got one more tool in my life drawing toolset alongside my knowledge of anatomy, proportions, volume and “academic observation”.

I just found a great link to most of the books you need for life drawing. Check out Alberto Ruiz’s amazing blog:


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